Playground to Plate grants scheme — working collectively to support healthy schools

Playground to Plate grants scheme — working collectively to support healthy schools

As part of the Playground to Plate grants scheme, the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Education and Training, the Achievement Program and the Healthy Eating Advisory Service (HEAS) have formed an active collaboration that draws on and leverages each other’s work to assist schools to deliver pleasurable food education and facilitate a whole-school approach to health and wellbeing.

The partners bring together a shared philosophy and complementary expertise, resources and a joint communication strategy that will assist schools to sustain efforts beyond the life of the grant scheme.

Funded by the Victorian Government and administered by the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation, the Playground to Plate grants scheme is providing $5000 grants to 100 Victorian government primary schools to enable them to purchase garden and/or kitchen materials to support their kitchen garden programs. In addition to this targeted boost to infrastructure, the partners will be available to guide and support successful schools in a whole-school approach to healthy eating.

Successful schools will also receive a one-year membership to Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation’s Kitchen Garden Classroom. This will support schools to run engaging kitchen garden programs through access to an online library of over 1,000 garden and kitchen resources, discounted professional development for teachers and access to a support line to answer any questions.

The Healthy Schools Achievement Program will help these schools create healthy places by providing an evidence-based practical framework for the whole-school approach to health — from developing policies to creating a culture that encourages healthy behaviours for a range of areas, including healthy eating. “We know healthy kids learn better”, says Program Manager Amy Timoshanko, “initiatives like this are all part of creating a healthy environment that can help children learn, play and reach their full potential.”

HEAS will also support these schools to switch to healthier foods and drinks, and provide and promote healthier foods and drinks according to the Department of Education and Training’s School Canteens and Other School Food Services Policy. “We're excited to support these schools to fuel happy, healthy, thriving children," said Margaret Rozman, HEAS Program Manager. HEAS provides free training, menu assessments and advice to support Victorian schools to meet the Achievement Program benchmarks for healthy eating and oral health.

By ensuring alignment of efforts, shared goals, open communication and sharing of relevant data the partnership is working to have a collective impact on healthy eating across these schools.

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